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      Menstrual Cycle Length and Patterns in a Global Cohort of Women Using a Mobile Phone App: Retrospective Cohort Study

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          Abstract

          Background

          There is increasing information characterizing menstrual cycle length in women, but less information is available on the potential differences across lifestyle variables.

          Objective

          This study aimed to describe differences in menstrual cycle length, variability, and menstrual phase across women of different ages and BMI among a global cohort of Flo app users. We have also reported on demographic and lifestyle characteristics across median cycle lengths.

          Methods

          The analysis was run based on the aggregated anonymized dataset from a menstrual cycle tracker and ovulation calendar that covers all phases of the reproductive cycle. Self-reported information is documented, including demographics, menstrual flow and cycle length, ovulation information, and reproductive health and diseases. Data from women aged ≥18 years and who had logged at least three cycles (ie, 2 completed cycles and 1 current cycle) in the Flo app were included (1,579,819 women).

          Results

          Of the 1.5 million users, approximately half (638,683/1,579,819, 40.42%) were aged between 18 and 24 years. Just over half of those reporting BMIs were in the normal range (18.5-24.9 kg/m 2; 202,420/356,598, 56.76%) and one-third were overweight or obese (>25 kg/m 2; 120,983/356,598, 33.93%). A total of 16.32% (257,889/1,579,819) of women had a 28-day median cycle length. There was a higher percentage of women aged ≥40 years who had a 27-day median cycle length than those aged between 18 and 24 years (22,294/120,612, 18.48% vs 60,870/637,601, 9.55%), but a lower percentage with a 29-day median cycle length (10,572/120,612, 8.77% vs 79,626/637,601, 12.49%). There were a higher number of cycles with short luteal phases in younger women, whereas women aged ≥40 years had a higher number of cycles with longer luteal phases. Median menstrual cycle length and the length of the follicular and luteal phases were not remarkably different with increasing BMI, except for the heaviest women at a BMI of ≥50 kg/m 2.

          Conclusions

          On a global scale, we have provided extensive evidence on the characteristics of women and their menstrual cycle length and patterns across different age and BMI groups. This information is necessary to support updates of current clinical guidelines around menstrual cycle length and patterns for clinical use in fertility programs.

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          Most cited references 39

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          Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013.

          In 2010, overweight and obesity were estimated to cause 3·4 million deaths, 3·9% of years of life lost, and 3·8% of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) worldwide. The rise in obesity has led to widespread calls for regular monitoring of changes in overweight and obesity prevalence in all populations. Comparable, up-to-date information about levels and trends is essential to quantify population health effects and to prompt decision makers to prioritise action. We estimate the global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980-2013. We systematically identified surveys, reports, and published studies (n=1769) that included data for height and weight, both through physical measurements and self-reports. We used mixed effects linear regression to correct for bias in self-reports. We obtained data for prevalence of obesity and overweight by age, sex, country, and year (n=19,244) with a spatiotemporal Gaussian process regression model to estimate prevalence with 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs). Worldwide, the proportion of adults with a body-mass index (BMI) of 25 kg/m(2) or greater increased between 1980 and 2013 from 28·8% (95% UI 28·4-29·3) to 36·9% (36·3-37·4) in men, and from 29·8% (29·3-30·2) to 38·0% (37·5-38·5) in women. Prevalence has increased substantially in children and adolescents in developed countries; 23·8% (22·9-24·7) of boys and 22·6% (21·7-23·6) of girls were overweight or obese in 2013. The prevalence of overweight and obesity has also increased in children and adolescents in developing countries, from 8·1% (7·7-8·6) to 12·9% (12·3-13·5) in 2013 for boys and from 8·4% (8·1-8·8) to 13·4% (13·0-13·9) in girls. In adults, estimated prevalence of obesity exceeded 50% in men in Tonga and in women in Kuwait, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Libya, Qatar, Tonga, and Samoa. Since 2006, the increase in adult obesity in developed countries has slowed down. Because of the established health risks and substantial increases in prevalence, obesity has become a major global health challenge. Not only is obesity increasing, but no national success stories have been reported in the past 33 years. Urgent global action and leadership is needed to help countries to more effectively intervene. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Variability in the phases of the menstrual cycle.

            To determine variability in the phases of the menstrual cycle among healthy, regularly cycling women. A prospective descriptive study of a new data set with biological markers to estimate parameters of the menstrual cycles. One hundred forty one healthy women (mean age 29 years) who monitored 3 to 13 menstrual cycles with an electronic fertility monitor and produced 1,060 usable cycles of data. MEASURES AND OUTCOMES: Variability in the length of the menstrual cycle and of the follicular, fertile, and luteal phases, and menses. The estimated day of ovulation and end of the fertile phase was the peak fertility reading on the monitor (i.e., the urinary luteinizing hormone surge). Mean total length was 28.9 days (SD = 3.4) with 95% of the cycles between 22 and 36 days. Intracycle variability of greater than 7 days was observed in 42.5% of the women. Ninety-five percent of the cycles had all 6 days of fertile phase between days 4 and 23, but only 25% of participants had all days of the fertile phase between days 10 and 17. Among regularly cycling women, there is considerable normal variability in the phases of the menstrual cycle. The follicular phase contributes most to this variability.
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              Ovarian hormones and obesity.

               Brigitte Leeners (corresponding) ,  Nori Geary,  Philippe N. Tobler (2017)
              Obesity is caused by an imbalance between energy intake, i.e. eating and energy expenditure (EE). Severe obesity is more prevalent in women than men worldwide, and obesity pathophysiology and the resultant obesity-related disease risks differ in women and men. The underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. Pre-clinical and clinical research indicate that ovarian hormones may play a major role.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                J Med Internet Res
                J. Med. Internet Res
                JMIR
                Journal of Medical Internet Research
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                1439-4456
                1438-8871
                June 2020
                24 June 2020
                : 22
                : 6
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Robinson Research Institute University of Adelaide Adelaide Australia
                [2 ] Adelaide Medical School University of Adelaide Adelaide Australia
                [3 ] Fertility SA Adelaide Australia
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Jessica A Grieger jessica.grieger@ 123456adelaide.edu.au
                Article
                v22i6e17109
                10.2196/17109
                7381001
                32442161
                ©Jessica A Grieger, Robert J Norman. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 24.06.2020.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

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